A common theme that we run into when we work with new clients is understanding that not all B2B sales prospects are equal. We have worked with over 130 organizations since we started our business in 2006 and it seems that startups want to sell to everyone, and not narrow their market. They feel that having a more focused B2B sales prospect target means missing out on business. In our experience it will have the opposite effect: by not narrowing your target market you lose focus and will miss business by spending time on less than optimal B2B sales prospects.
Here are a few things to consider when selecting your target customers and personas.
Where is your experience and who are your current customers?
It is often easier to sell what we know to individuals we have had success with. Though you shouldn’t let your experience limit you in expanding to other verticals, focusing on where you’ve had success can help accelerate your sales efforts. Industries use the same terminology, often have the same challenges, and know their competitors. You can also leverage these customer success stories to help with your sales and marketing efforts.
Who does your solution benefit the most?
The key to B2B sales is knowing how your solution can help the customer, and what pain you can help them overcome. There will be some industries where your solution could significantly help an organization. There would also be a subset of B2B sales prospects within each of these verticals that could benefit the most from your solution. Use this information to help develop your target audience.
Does this target customer have funds to pay for the solution?
Your solution may be an excellent fit for a smaller organization, but the price would be detrimental to taking advantage of it. Down the road you can figure out how to sell to that smaller target, but in the short-term make sure that your target can afford your solution.
Where do the competitors focus and how do you compare?
It will be tough to compete with a target if your competitors have a great presence and a superior solution. Look for the niches where you have the advantage over the incumbent. Leverage these niches while you learn and evolve the product.
Which targets would be early adopters?
Within each target or vertical there will be more progressive organizations. These are the organization that are used to taking a small risk and trying something new. As an example if a client doesn’t trust the cloud and you have a SaaS only solution, you would have to convince them to trust the cloud and then also pick your solution. This could be a bridge too far.
If you have some questions on your target verticals and persona’s please reach out to me.